Almost everyone has used online reviews to make a purchasing decision; 72 percent to be exact according to a recent survey taken by SteelHouse. Whether it’s a service being provided or a product being bought, consumers today are more informed than ever before due to the power of social media.
Believe it or not, negative reviews can linger online for years, costing your company thousands in revenue and create a reputation management nightmare. Having no reviews can be even more harmful than having mixed reviews, as it will push your business to the bottom of a potential client’s search. A study completed by Quickbooks showed that visitors were 555% more likely to click on a site with reviews. 555%!
While it may seem like a daunting task, there are a few [simple] steps you can take to make your business shine online.
1. Use a reputation management tool or service. This is your guard dog for protecting your reputation on the internet. The tool will scan the internet and produce a report of where your company is mentioned online. By having this information you can verify the accuracy, do damage control, or share good reviews via social media to entice other buyers. When choosing a reputation management tool look for one that provides email alerts and a dashboard available for review 24/7. A few good tools on the market right now are Google Alerts, BrandsEye and TrackUr.
2. Spreading the word. Think you did a good job? Was a customer satisfied by your services? Did you deliver a good product to a new buyer? Feel free to ask your customer(s) to post a review on the social media platform of your choice. 55% of consumers say that they leave four to five stars when writing reviews. Some companies even offer discounts for posting a review (good or bad). Give your current customer base an incentive to spread the word about your business.
TIP: Don’t forget to take full advantage of positive (and sometime negative) reviews by reposting them onto your website.
3. Deal with bad reviews. With the large number of social media and review sites now, millions of viewers can now “hear” about how they were unsatisfied with the services provided by your company. By ignoring a bad review, they can linger for years on the internet and cost your company thousands of dollars. When you see a bad review, reach out to the customer personally and try to make amends. Sometimes a customer will change their review, and often it can be a learning lesson on how you can improve your business as to prevent further negative reviews.
It’s time to start having eyes on the web. You may be happy to see that stellar reviews have already been posted and can be reposted, or you can find out where your company can improve. Either way, it’s time you take control of your online presence.